The Company of Scholars

I had a great time with my family this weekend. My parents and my sister came and stayed with me and James. And even though our home is not a huge one, according to my parents, it is very “homey” and a comforting place to rest one’s head. Which is something I’ve always thought, too.

On Thursday evening, we attended my individual college’s commencement, which is the little ceremony where everyone’s names are called and we walk across a stage, shake hands with the dean and get a picture taken as we are given a rolled paper that represents our diploma. The paper tells us that we won’t receive our actual diploma until all coursework is verified and the school can actually prove that all the degree requirements have been met. Aside from a little burst of hormones, it was a nice evening. And I’m proud to say that my hormones actually remained in check throughout the rest of the weekend.

Friday morning, I went to breakfast with my parents while my sister went running. We discussed a variety of baby name options, and three days later, Mom is still holding strong on her opinion that a boy should be Jake and a girl Savannah. I still like Wojtek, myself.

The rest of Friday afternoon was spent lounging and eating and watching crappy movies on TBS or some station. We joked and had fun. Then we met James for dinner at Mike’s American Grill, after dropping my sister at the Metro so she could go party with a friend in town. If you are ever at Mike’s, try the crab-cakes. They are awesome.

After dinner, we headed back to campus for the graduate student poetry reading. Or the poetry student graduate reading. Either way, all the graduating poetry students in my program got the opportunity to strut their stuff. And everyone was very excellent. At least from what I can tell. Because I can’t really trust my family’s opinion, even though they said I was the best, I’m pretty sure they are more than a little biased.

Saturday morning, we waited for my sister to get back to the Metro station. As we were joking around, the name Dusty Nuts was proposed. I like it about as much as Jake.

So that was commencement. I’m afraid that the only thing I will remember about that morning will be the mounting urge to pee and the low rumble of my stomach, as I realized all too well that a bowl of cereal, a cup of yogurt and a small chai latte has little ability to sustain a feeling of fullness for more than an hour or so. But other things happened, too. My cap and gown were green. I appeared on the big screen at the front of the Patriot Center several times, and I only stuck my tongue out like a complete dork one of those times. We were recognized as entering into the company of scholars and commended for our achievements. The governor was our commencement speaker, and he said a few things that I think I might remember even in a couple of years, which is more than I can say for most commencement speakers. And standing next to a very good school friend, I realized that I will miss her, and I hope that I can really stay in touch with people this time. Even though it’s tough, I don’t want to let these friendships slip away. They are valuable, and I will need them in my life.

After the ceremony, and after running to the nearest building for a bathroom, I found my family and we headed home to have lunch and take a nap. Later, we went to King Street in Old Town Alexandria and did a little bit of window and earring shopping. This was followed by a big dinner at the Fish Market–one of our favorite places, and Dad’s request. The weather was gorgeous, and we took a little walk around by the water after dinner. James and I sat and talked a little bit as my mom and sister went off to find a frozen yogurt and Dad looked into boat rides.

I don’t remember what we said, the words or even subject matter, but I remember feeling very loved, very proud, very content. It was one of those beautiful moments on a beautiful night that reminds you just how good you’ve really got it.

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